CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Cargill announced on Jan. 5 plans to modernize and consolidate the company's soybean crush operations, plans that include closing its Des Moines, Iowa, soybean crush plant.

Cargill, which will close the plant Feb. 4, cited declining domestic meat consumption, competing proteins in feed and growth in international oilseed processing as factors prompting the closure. However, the company will continue to buy soybeans at its Des Moines elevator and operate its vegetable oil refinery. Cargill will also produce specialty feed products at the facility, the company said. A total of 22 jobs will be lost, although the company will still have roughly 70 employees in the Des Moines metro area.

"Iowa is core to Cargill's soybean crushing strategy," said Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America in Minneapolis. "We remain committed to serving Iowa farmers and our soy product customers, which we can do more competitively through our Iowa locations in Sioux City, Iowa Falls, and our two plants in Cedar Rapids. The decision to close the crush plant in Des Moines was a difficult one due to the long history and loyal employees at this facility."

The company also announced plans to spend $20 million to modernize its soybean crushing plant on the east side of Cedar Rapids. The work will begin during the summer. The company said additional work at the Cedar Rapids facility over the next several years could bring the investment to $60 million. Facilities in Iowa Falls, Sioux City and Cedar Rapids will supply Cargill's soybean meal customers.